Monday, February 7, 2011

My Super Dilemma

We are in the midst of “Super Week” and I’m in the midst of a super predicament – I can’t cheer for either team in the Super Bowl.

This has never happened to me before – I’ve always been able to choose one team over the other. In the past, either my team was playing, or I could cheer for a team because there was something innately likeable about one of the teams playing, such as was the case with last year’s Saints, or I could cheer against one of the teams because there was something innately unlikeable about them. And having a team to cheer for – or against – is what makes the Super Bowl so entertaining. But this year, the Steelers and Packers have made my decision an impossible one.

My husband is a Minnesota Vikings fan, and therefore, his enemy is the Green Bay Packers.  Consequently, if I want to stay married, I absolutely cannot cheer for Green Bay under any circumstance whatsoever.

In any other game my choice would be easy – cheer for whoever the Packers are playing against. But how can I cheer for the Steelers, a team of such unlikeable guys?

First and foremost in the unlikeable category – for me – is Ben Roethlisberger, who, for those of you living under a rock, was accused of sexual assault this past offseason. He wasn’t charged in this particular instance, but the league felt there was enough evidence to prove he had at the very least violated the NFL's personal conduct policy. Big Ben is at the worst is a sexual predator, and at the very least an idiot.

Strike number two against Pittsburgh in the unlikeable category is James Harrison, the guy who threatened to retire earlier this season when the league decided to start penalizing and fining players for flagrant hits, specifically to the head. What Harrison implied with that reaction was “I like to play dirty.” Hitting players in the head is cheap, dirty and can lead to nasty injuries. But Harrison chooses – openly – to play this way.

Finally, there is their supposed “nice guy” Hines Ward, who in 2009 was voted by his fellow NFL players as the dirtiest player in the game. Not meanest, not toughest – dirtiest. That means cheap shots, poking eyes in a pile, etc. In 2008, he broke the jaw of Bengals rookie linebacker Keith Rivers with a “surprise” downfield block, which ended Rivers' season. After that hit, another player said about Ward, "That's what he's known for. He's a blind-side guy." Not such a nice guy after all.

Not to mention that the Steelers have won two championships in the past five years, and I really don’t want them to win again – especially again with this loathsome team.

So I look at my options – send my marriage to counseling or cheer for a team of, in my opinion, vile men.
I’m in such internal turmoil over this game that I’ve seriously contemplated not watching at all. But how can I be the only person I know who doesn’t watch the game?

So what can I do? I have to become resigned to the fact that one of the teams I can’t like is going to win, and I will be emphatically unable to bask in the glory of the championship. In the end, all I can do is celebrate is that one of these teams will lose, which I realize makes me a bitter person.

The only way this game could be worse was if the Jets were playing – then my home would be an athletic war zone.

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